Wedding party history plays a big part in the roles of the bride's attendants and groomsmen in modern day weddings. In most cases, the bridal party doesn't realize that this custom was initiated with the groomsmen instead of the bride's attendants. The history of weddings is actually quite interesting. Keep reading for more interesting facts!
Bride's Knights or Groomsmen?
Actually the bridal party began with an Anglo-Saxon tradition. In this tradition, friends of the groom were given the role of guardians or body guards of the bride. It was their duty to make certain that the bride made it safely to the wedding and later the groom's home. She should arrive at both places with her dowry and herself intact. This is how the term bride's knights originated. It evolved into bridesmen and later into groomsmen.
In some cases, the groom actually kidnapped the bride with the aid of his friends. If the bride's family was opposed to the wedding, the groom's friends would form a sort of army to fend off the angry mob while the groom made a getaway with his bride in his arms.
Bridesmaids or Brideswomen
The matron of honor was once referred to as a senior maid. It was the senior maid's responsibility to attend the bride for several days before the wedding occurred. The senior maid was also by the bride's side on her wedding day, ensuring that she looked as beautiful as possible. Other attendants, referred to as bridesmaids or brideswomen, had several duties. They might assist the bride in decorating for the wedding, and they typically helped her dress for the wedding, too.
In many cases, both bridesmaids and groomsmen dressed very similar to the bridal couple. It was believed that this would confuse any evil spirits or even jealous suitors who might attend the wedding with the intent of doing harm to the bride or groom. This tradition continues today in a more modern form. Bridesmaids are typically chosen because of their close friendship and bonds of loyalty to the bride.
Best Man or Banished Friend?
Did you know that the best man used to stand beside the bride at the altar? Legend has it that the best man was placed there to continue his protection over the bride throughout the ceremony. Unfortunately, some of the best men took their roles a little too seriously, causing jealousy among the grooms. Thus, the best man was banished from the bride's side of the bridal party and forever after remains on the groom's side today.
Wedding Party History and Children
Of course groomsmen and bridesmaids aren't the only members of the wedding party. Wedding party history also includes children. The flower girl tradition began during the Victorian era. The role of a flower girl was to entertain the wedding guests. The sight of a tiny girl carrying flowers with the wedding party helped create a more relaxed and pleasant celebration of the couple's union.
Young boys had specific roles in wedding party history. They usually were used to hold the bride's train, and they typically dressed as pages with velvet jackets and short pants. They also were used to carry the wedding ring, and this continues as a tradition today.